Selecting the Right SCADA Master
Did you think carefully when you picked your SCADA master, or did you just pick the first one you found? Maybe you "inherited" a manager when you changed jobs. Whatever the reason, you're probably not positioned as well as you should be when it comes to SCADA.
Think for a second about how much easier it would be with your SCADA master working constantly to help you.
This list of 13 Key SCADA Master Functions teaches you how to select the best possible SCADA master:
- Assign severity to your alarms. The device that you're monitoring might not embed a severity in the trap, or you might not agree with the level they assigned.
- Categorize the alarms by types. Also, allow access to those types to be selectively given to authorized people. Too many alarms going into one large pile is never a good thing. Differentiation and selective routing is key when multiple people and/or multiple departments are involved in alarm management.
- Maintain history that can be queried by many different criteria so network events can be analyzed after-the-fact.
- Have a "strong" notification system. A must for those companies that don't have 7x24 NOCs, strong notifications also comes in handy if you step away from your master screen. A strong notification system must support multiple forms of media, including Alpha Pagers, Numeric Pagers, Cell phones, PDA's, and E-mail. It must also have scheduling that allows you to notify the right person for the right problem at the right time. And, of course, your master's notification system must provide for alarm escalation if required.
- Be actively supported by your vendor. When was your last software update?
- Support Multiple Protocols. Even though your network probably operates mostly on a single protocol, there are still probably some others in your network. Wouldn't it be good if you system could look at alarms from those devices as well?
- Filter Nuisance Alarms. Are there some alarms that you want to ignore between 9 & 5? Alarms that keep toggling after you already dispatched on them? Life's too short for that kind of frustration. Many alarms might not be relevant. In fact, even alarms you care about at times might be a "nuisance" at other times. You need to be able to turn off alarms you never want to see, either temporarily or permanently.
- Forward alarms to a higher-level master. What about forwarding alarms to higher-level masters at Corporate? Not many systems do this, so make sure any system that you consider can do forward alarms.
- Detailed Text Messages for Every Alarm. Does you system have the ability to tell you what you should do when an alarm comes in? If it did, your staff's learning curve and effectiveness would go way up.
- System Scalability. Is your system scalable? If you only have one screen on your master, you can't effectively distribute or route your monitoring load. Make sure that multiple people can access the system concurrently. By the way, wouldn't it be great if they could just web browse to the data (secured by SSL encryption)?
- Strong Security. You have critical data travelling through your network. Make sure you can control who accesses it and to what extent. Having "all or nothing" access control doesn't cut it these days.
- Derived Alarms and Controls. It's nice to see SCADA alarms on the screen, but what about the alarms that don't directly come from your devices? Make sure you have a system that is capable of continuously looking for combinations of events that indicate critical problems... and make it can notify you swiftly and automatically.
- Graphical Alarm Presentation You must make sure you system presents alarms in a meaningful way. Graphical screens allow you to assign geographical hierarchy to you network so you get an intuitive view of your system that allows you to manage your network more effectively. The old axiom "a picture is worth a thousand words" applies to SCADA as much as it does to anything else.
Learn more about selecting a top-quality SCADA master on the T/Mon LNX Product Page, then
Call the DPS SCADA Master Experts today at 1-800-693-0351.